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Time out: From Mondrian to ‘Walm-Art.com’

Out of day-trip ideas? Try something different: the artsy side of upstate. From Buffalo to Syracuse, you can check out Czech glass, Jackson Pollock, Roycroft furniture and interactive art.

Fans of chicken wings and sports have always found a home in Buffalo, but there’s much more to love about this city. The region boasts historic architecture, renowned art museums and one of the great wonders of the world: Niagara Falls. Buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan and H.H. Richardson are set amid an elaborate parks system created by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. There are numerous galleries and other attractions, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, known for its significant collection of 20th-century paintings and sculpture. Niagara Falls is the nation’s oldest state park and a sight to behold in any season.
At Albright-Knox:
“Extreme Abstraction” (through Oct. 2) is a major installation of abstract pieces by leading artists, including Jackson Pollock, Piet Mondrian and Gerhard Richter. “The Wall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art” (opens Oct. 21) is the largest exhibition of contemporary Chinese art to travel beyond China. It also is the first collaboration of its kind between American art museums and a major Chinese art institution.

Home of the international company that shares its name, the city of Corning draws visitors from all over the world to the Corning Museum of Glass. You’ll see live glass-blowing demonstrations, exhibitions of glass art and other attractions that delve into the science, history and art of glass. The Rockwell Museum of Western Art explores American Western and Native American art in a mix of traditional and contemporary exhibits. Take a leisurely drive to antique shops and wineries, or visit three nearby aviation museums. (British Airways calls Route 54A one of the top 15 scenic drives in the world.) Stretch your legs on a walking tour of town, and then stop for a bite to eat on historic Market Street.
At Corning Museum of Glass:
Czech glass gets a close look. “The Tradition of the Avant-Garde” (through Oct. 30) looks at Modernism in Czech glass-19th- and early 20th-century pieces made in Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic. “Design in an Age of Adversity” (through Nov. 27) is the largest gathering of postwar Czech glass ever assembled in the United States.

East Aurora
It was here that Elbert Hubbard fashioned an American version of William Morris’ English crafts complex. The Roycrofters, artisans who worked on leather crafts, furniture, copperware and fine books in the Roycroft community here, made a significant mark on the arts and crafts movement in this country. The stock market crash of 1929 and the Depression closed the campus before renewed interest in the Roycrofters brought it back to life. You can visit the restored 14-building campus, now a national historic landmark, and dine or stay overnight at the Roycroft Inn across the street. The Millard Fillmore House, built by the 13th president, and the Roycroft Museum, in a 1910 Craftsman bungalow, are open for tours.
At the Roycroft Museum:
Roycroft furniture, copper, books, glass, and oak and chestnut woodwork-all things arts and crafts.

Niagara Region
There’s more to Niagara Falls than millions of gallons of water (and the occasional daredevil) spilling over a precipice. While you’re here, take a side trip to Old Fort Niagara. France and Britain controlled Niagara 300 years ago from this imposing structure on the shore of Lake Ontario. The site of historic battles and trade is open year-round. The Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University holds nearly 4,000 works of art. Some of the artists may surprise you: Picasso, Roualt, Modigliani, Motherwell and DeKooning are represented. ArtPark in Lewiston is an indoor/outdoor venue offering theater and musical performances, festivals, hiking trails, fishing docks and picnic areas. And don’t miss the Niagara Power Project Visitors Center, known as Power Vista. It is four miles downstream from the falls in the Niagara River Gorge. State-of-the-art interactive exhibits teach about hydroelectricity and its role in the area’s history.
At the Castellani:
“Edward Bisone: Paintings” (opens Oct. 7) shows the abstract works by a regional artist using multiple media. In “Wendell Castle: What Pluck!” (through Sept. 18), the Scottsville resident presents recent biomorphic sculptures that look like hearts, fruits and beehives.

New York’s central city played a leading role in the arts and crafts movement in the early 20th century; the Stickley brothers made their famous oak furniture here, and modern-day craftsmen carry on the spirit of the movement through a variety of media. (The company still operates a factory in Manlius.) The Everson Museum of Art, a 1968 I.M. Pei creation, has ongoing exhibitions of contemporary and American art, ceramics, and Gustav Stickley and the arts and crafts movement. With more than 30,000 screaming fans clad in orange, see the 2003 Division I national basketball champions, the Syracuse Orangemen, play in the Carrier Dome on campus. The Erie Canal Museum, housed in the canal’s only remaining weighlock building, has hands-on exhibits and collections related to the famous waterway. The attached Syracuse Heritage Area Visitor Center provides leads for further exploration. If you are in town Aug. 25 to Sept. 5, go to the 159th annual run of the New York State Fair. Last year, nearly a million people took in the show.
At the Everson:
“Aftermarket: Art, Objects and Commerce” is Syracuse native John Freyer’s first museum exhibition (opens Sept. 17). Included are components of three separate but related projects: Freyer’s Web-based performance piece, “AllMyLifeForSale.Com”; a new interactive installation called “Walm-Art.Com”; and Surplus, a sculpture/installation of one-ton bales of surplus clothing. A 12-foot rotating Bob’s Big Boy sculpture will be on view in the Sculpture Court.
-Sally Parker

08/26/05 (C) Rochester Business Journal


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